Archive for March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011 2

西門麵綫

By FaFoFi in , , , , , ,


As I've said before I'm not very picky. I love eating, whatever it may be and that includes....INNARDS. I know it may be off putting for some of you to consider eating things like tripe, tongue, lungs, and tendon, but I think it's a pretty everyday thing for most Asian cultures. It's not scary I promise. I'll help you through this.



For those of you who are adventurous or eating innards is an everyday occurrence I strongly recommend going to Xi Men Ding and eating some 大腸麵綫。It's freaking delicious.



There aren't any tables for you to sit at, but the owners of the joint have kindly provided a couple of stools for you to sit on while you eat your mian xian. However, be warned these stools are almost always crowded with people, most of the times I go I have to eat standing up. The service is incredibly quick and they focus more on efficiency than small talk. It's nice though...I get to eat my mian xian faster.



Mian Xian is like Taiwanese soul food: warm, thick, and flavorful it's something that you crave for during cold weather. Although, even during the especially hot Taiwanese summers I still like to eat it and other people do too. As proof, the lines here are still incredibly long even in like 29-34 C weather. The thick golden broth is overloaded with noodles and each bite is more satisfying that the last. The flavor of mian xian is quite hard to describe, each place having a different flavor and recipe, but I'll do my best.


Mian xian is definitely a savory food, salty and vinegary and...yet not overwhelming to the palate. Sometimes you get food that's good in the first few bites, but when you eat more of it your liking of the food goes down....this isn't one of those things. The intestine mentioned earlier is chopped roughly and is paired with cilantro as a garnish on top of the bowl. (More often than not I decide to opt out on the cilantro) Chewy with a distinct almost palate covering milky flavor, intestines are not to be feared.

Cheap eats, a nice atmosphere, and lots of things to do. I strongly recommend Ah Zong Mian Xian if you're ever in Taipei. Thanks for coming!

+Love

Price: $ out of $$$$$
Kid Friendly: Yes and no, it's an open street so keep your kids close if you don't want them to wander...
Repeatability: Yes!


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011 3

Safari In The Dark

By FaFoFi in

Kesslord Bag, Steve Madden Flats, UO Jeans, Nameless Brand Shirt, BCBG Headband
Do I look like a deer in the headlights of your car? Haha, man. I'm truly envious of you guys who don't feel awkward in front of the camera. I feel that to prevent people from being like "Oooh, this is a bad photo." or "You look really ugly in this photo." I make myself look ugly and terrible in ALL my photos. That way they have nothing to compare anything to. THE WORST IS WHAT YOU GET.


I've been playing around with raw file format and lightroom, but I now have exported all my photos to flickr by accident. I suppose this is a good thing! I've been a bit antsy about Picasa's 1 Gig limit...at least now I have an alternative (not to mention free) platform for posting and sharing photos. (Later: I totally recant my earlier statement, flickr to blogger is terribly confusing.) 



I love all things formless, drape-y, and beige so when I saw this top hanging innocently on the rack I had to snatch it up. It might be a smidge too close to my skin tone, but I think I can work it....or alternatively: tan like crazy or start playing World of Warcraft again to complement my shirt color. 



I know the pictures are kind of crap, but I haven't mastered shooting at night yet. =___= Or even shooting in the day for that matter. =) But it's only upwards and onwards from here! If my posture seems very rigid in every photo it's because it was deceptively cold out. My friend kept telling me to try and relax, but the second I did I would start shaking uncontrollably. 



It's been sunny for the past few days though! I'm excited. Maybe if I can heckle my friend into being a photographer again or use a tripod I can start playing with my dslr a bit more. I'm also leaving for Hong Kong on friday! So even more jittery for that. Although school as barely started, it's only two months in, I totally am burnt out. I need a vacation! <3 




Thanks for coming! 


+ Love 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 4

Summer Lovin'

By FaFoFi

Forever 21 Sunnies and Accessories, Miu Miu Bikini, Jeffrey Campell Shoes, Nixon Watch, Kurt Vonnegut and Vladimir Nabokov 

Since I have continually cursed myself with bad weather in all of my posts...I've given up dressing cutely. I will emerge from my northface/spyder/down cocoon as a silk, chiffon covered butterfly. Haha, that's terrible, but I do feel that when the weather changes I'll be happy...happier.

So this is a list of things that I really want for the summer...just some reading that I have been meaning to do for ages (Kurt Vonnegut and Vladimir Nabokov, hopefully not too pretentious)  and some feather-y, pearl-y, lace-y, sunglasses-y accessories. I love them. I also am completely in love with two pairs of heels. The best part is they don't seem to bad for my bunions. ::lol:: I'm an old lady.

Hoping you all have nicer days! Thanks for coming.

+Love

Monday, March 21, 2011 2

Photo Poops

By FaFoFi

Just playing around. I got a wonderful gift from my parents one that merged my birthday, Christmas, and all other gift give-holidays together...BAM! I couldn't have been more shocked and surprised. A DSLR. =) Here are some photos that I've taken.  I'm begining to remember all the things I forgot since photo class: f stops, shutter speeds, ISO settings...oh my! 

All the photos are from Tokyo or Taipei for those of you that are curious... 














Thanks for looking...more actual posts soon. I'm being a good student now and focusing on my classes. Who could've thought? <3 

+ Love 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9

Stylish Blogger Award

By FaFoFi

When I logged onto Blogger the other day, I was very surprised to find that I had won the Stylish Blogger Award from Ms. Joey over at Everyday Outfits. =) Well I'm more than honored and pleased? I guess the best way to express how I"m feeling right now is this face: ^_____^ ~<3


Thank you Joey. =) So here are the rules: 


1) Thank the person who awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award

2) List 7 things about yourself

3) Pass the award to other bloggers and contact them about it

So here are some things about myself! I hope you don't mind reading. =) 

  • I cannot fashionably dress myself for winter. I feel like it's a chronic illness and it just won't go away! I tend to prefer warmth to dressing fashionably and that inevitably leads me to be decked from head to toe in Northface or some sort of downy substance. >__< Here's to improvement in the future. 
  • I love high heels I prefer them over any other footwear! (Although boots are excluded) My feet are incredibly wide and flat, so I feel like heels are the only type of shoe that doesn't make them look disgusting. >__< However because of my penchant for high heels I'm beginning to get bunions.
  • I love to eat and I'm not a picky eater. I'm the daughter of two foodies and I've managed to build my palate under their careful eyes. =)  I also have a extremely high metabolism. Let's hope it keeps up with me when I get into old age. =__= 
  • I have terrible buying habits. I seem to always go for the same shape or the same "style" of dress, top, bottom skirt, in multitudes of different colors. I need to diversify my wardrobe. Anything I buy also has a 90% possibility of being black. If you open my closet it's like looking into a cave...a two dimensional cave...
  • I have an incredible sense of wanderlust. I feel incredibly blessed to have parents with an equal, or greater, amount of love for traveling and consider myself to be pretty well traveled. I've been to Italy, England, France, Japan, China, Canada, and within the US. <3 I've lived in Northern California for most of my life, but go to university in Vancouver, BC and currently reside in Taipei. I've lived in Beijing before, and now I have my sights set on Tokyo.
  • I've never had a positive, pleasurable, vintage shopping experience. I feel that in Vancouver the most raved about vintage shops are too expensive for their selection and smell like both my grandparent's houses combined. Someone tell me how to vintage shop!
  • I've finally realized very recently that you can't please everyone and can't get everyone to like you, but you can be honest to them and honest with yourself. I'm more comfortable with the "skin I'm in" than ever before and reflect that in spending time with people I love i.e. family, boyfriend, friends, and Fa Chai. <3
Thank you for reading a post all about me. >__<  I am incredibly awkward on the internet, but not in an off-putting way (I hope). Endearing? Haha, I never seem to know the etiquette of chictopia, look book, and even facebook, geez. So I'd like to set the rules here on my own blog. =P I'll always comment and have a rapport with those who are reading. I always think it's awkward if I keep commenting on someone's blog and they never respond, I feel like a creep. So I promise I'll always respond to you or I'll do my best to. So thank you so much Joey for awarding me this =) and thank you for coming! 

The bloggers I choose to pass this award onto are:

Cheryl from The Fiction I Live
and
Abby from Lights Up

+Love  


Monday, March 14, 2011 2

8.9

By FaFoFi in , , ,

I wish I wrote well. I consider myself a pretty articulate person, but I don't think that my writing sentiments could ever equal my speaking ones. Being in Tokyo during the big earthquake has basically topped the chart of scary things I've lived through. I didn't want to post this immediately, but instead I wanted to allow myself to introspect and figure out what to say. 

I think it all started out very innocently, with my dad calling me and coyly asking me if I would mind missing a few classes to hang out with my mother and him in Tokyo. Of course like any sane person would, I jumped at the chance and was whisked off later that week to Taoyuan airport. I packed my stuff haphazardly, grabbed my passport, and went over the checklist I had in my head. I got to the airport and went through the motions of traveling: checking in, going through security, taking off shoes, taking out laptop, putting everything back, and waiting at the gate. Everything was so innocent. I was so excited to meet my mom and dad again. I hadn't seen them for a couple of months and I was beginning to feel terribly homesick. Getting my dad's call and ensuing email containing a plane ticket was the best thing that happened to me all semester.

We had agreed to meet at 4:30 pm around the Citibank atm machine and my plane had arrived ahead of schedule at 1:10 at terminal one. My dad had given me very clear and strict information to head over to terminal two as quickly as possible and burn time until their arrival, and with my penchant for getting lost in impossibly easy situations, I made it my priority to make it over to terminal two immediately. Without my dad by my side, our family's Japan expert, I was feeling a little scared and sheepish. Even so, I still managed to make it to a restaurant and order something delicious, all the while checking facebook, email and updating twitter. 


Honestly, I was really excited to go downstairs and shop at Uniqlo. I was going to pick up some shirts for my dad, tops for my mother, and some summer dresses for me and my sister. I was trundling my luggage down the escalator and clumsily making my way to Uniqlo when the floor started to shake. I thought I was going crazy, but looking around and seeing that all the natives weren't scared by one of their frequent earthquakes, I figured I shouldn't be either. I continued walking to Uniqlo unfazed and noticed it was getting harder and harder to roll my luggage, the shaking was getting more violent and the windows and walls started to rattle. Dust started coming down from the ceiling and I was still slow to react. Everyone was. 


It was almost comical, when the young girl working in the store and I made eye contact and simultaneously we both started screaming. At this point, everyone was running and rushing towards the door at the front of the terminal. Everyone just had to get out away from falling things and danger. After growing up and living in California for 19 years of my life, all the earthquake safety and drills that I'd gone through as a child flew out of my head. I didn't see any tables, the door frames were made of glass, and the support beams I saw were creaking and moving violently. The cars were bouncing back and forth from wheel to wheel, almost like a coin does when it falls to the ground on its final rotations after being spun, and the noise...the noise was so terrifying. It was like a train was rushing through the airport, without stopping. The ground ...wasn't even ground anymore. It was moving so much that standing outside was much like standing on the dock of a boat during a bad storm.



Honestly, the earthquake was bad, but I didn't realize how bad it was until much, much later. After two very serious aftershocks, everyone in terminal one was evacuated outside onto solid ground where we were told to wait. The entire time I just couldn't help feeling very...alone. My parents hadn't landed and I didn't know what was going to happen to their plane, I didn't have a phone that worked and I couldn't call anyone, I couldn't connect to the internet, and no one was allowed to go inside for fear of structural damage. Sitting there on the freeway I quickly managed to attach myself to the first foreigners I saw for company, and the two men were absolutely sure this was going to blow over quickly. It's a little funny thinking back and remembering how nonchalant there were about the earthquake. One of the guys there was kind enough to let me use his phone to text my dad, and for the first time in a couple of hours I felt a shred relief.



As we were waiting and waiting the weather was getting colder and colder, many people were shivering and wondering if or when we could go back inside. However, they hadn't checked the building for any structural damage and they were still dealing with the people stranded on planes. Everyone was antsy to be home or on their way and every time it appeared to be safe enough to go back inside, we were hit by aftershocks that made the metal roofing shake and chatter. In order to combat the cold, the airport officials made the decision to evacuate us all out to buses and turn their heaters on. The long line of stranded travelers making their way to buses made me feel like we were in some alien invasion movie, where everyone is just trying to find one safe haven.


I managed to connect onto the mobile wifi there and quickly emailed my parents and used facebook to contact my friends. BBC news reports were pouring in of wild fires, casualties and people being stranded in work and unable to go home. My facebook wallpost had generated quite a few comments in just a couple of moments, people asking if I was alright, offering help, comforting me, but the most important one was a close friend of mine, Yuna, who was also stuck at the airport. That day she was on her way to Hong Kong to meet with a couple of friends and arrived early at the airport when the earthquake struck. We were communicating on and off and managed to figure out that we were stranded in the same terminal. Desperate for company, I got off the bus and made the long trek to the airport.


Like a lost child, I didn't know how to ask anyone where she was, or where our supposed meeting spot was. I was just wandering from place to place, grabbing things from officials passing rations out: a blanket here, ritz crackers there, and water for the night. I heard my name broad casted from the loud speaker and I jumped. She was waiting for me by the information desk and it made me realize that since I had left the bus I was extremely tense and scared. Seeing her, the first familiar face in what seemed like hours, made me feel safe and relaxed. She, an elderly woman who was also traveling alone, and I made up our motley crew for the night.


Without Yuna I would've probably never made it out of Narita. She helped me with everything from getting food, getting blankets, figuring out where to go, helping me rent a telephone, to playing Uno with me. With her there, I was fine. We tried to make the best of things and talked of what we were going to do, where we were going to go, and who were were going to see. What kept drawing out attention was the big screen in the middle of the departure area, it was broadcasting live domestic news of massive fires, the tsunami rushing over towns, the nuclear reactor explosions, and thousands of people in shelters: without food, water, or electricity. The death count kept going up and up. It was easy to not understand the quickly spoken Japanese, but still be moved by the images and stories of people in the wake of the earthquake's destruction.


It was hard to sleep that night, because the of the aftershocks and the general fear that we all had of another "Big One." Any vibration I felt, whether it was real or just my own heartbeat, made me jump up and ready to run. When the morning came I didn't know what to do. Yuna listened to the broadcasts and discerned that some trains and emergency buses were leaving. Yuna and I made it together out of Narita to Tokyo. Like I said before, without her I would still be at Narita. We met with her boyfriend and they were kind enough to bring me to my hotel all the way in Shinjuku. Even though they were tired and scared themselves. I can't thank them enough for their kindness.


At the hotel I managed to contact my parents, friends and cousins and made sure everyone is alright. My cousins invited my friend and I to stay at their home and we were finally able to forget about the disaster in revel in the joy that was family. Everything fell into place after that. I'm sitting here in Taipei, safe and sound, watching and worrying what will happen to Japan in the future. Worrying about my friends and family.

What struck me most about the whole disaster was that the Japanese people were perfectly calm and polite. When rations were being handed out, even though they had the opportunity to cut the line, they didn't. Instead they ran all the way to the back before it got any longer. Only the foreigners there were rude, loud, brash and cut in line. When disaster struck the sadness and despair were palpable in the air. Only Japanese officials, civilians and rescue people worked with frightening efficiency in trying to combat all the bad things happening to their country at once.

Because of the earthquake Japan's coastline has shifted 13 ft, the world has been thrown of it's axis by 6.5 inches, and our days have become 1.8 milliseconds shorter. Japan has survived the world's fifth largest earthquake in 100 years.

I realize how lucky and blessed I am to escape unscathed, while other people are much worse off. Please join me in donating. Everyone pray for Japan.

Red Cross: https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=0&5052.donation=form1&df_id=5052
Japan's Coast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12732335
Time: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/03/quake-shifted-japan-coast-about-13-feet-knocked-earth-65-inches-off-axis/1

Thank you for coming.

Thank you to Yuna and Alex, for being so kind and understanding.

Thank you Ami! Ami, the friend I met with later, is the sweetest and most wonderful person you could ever meet. She was alone during the earthquake and came from Yokohama to see me. We spent two days together keeping each other company and making the best out of the situation. Even after the earthquake she was excited to show me Tokyo and what fun, cool stuff there is to do there. 

Thank you Chris and Ming =). They were so lovely and wonderful to host us. We ate the most wonderful sukiyaki and played with their adorable lovely daughter. They were so comforting and reassuring in that time of crisis and when I didn't know what to do and I wanted to shrink away and be alone, they gave me the family reassurance that I needed. 

I love you all. 


+Love 





Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2

九份

By FaFoFi in , ,

Unfortunately, I jinxed myself with the celebratory "Springtime is HERE!" post and now it is incredibly cold, yet again. According to most Taiwanese locals this year has been extremely irregular, with a colder than normal winter, a scant amount of typhoons during the summer, and a extremely late coming spring. The flowers are here though. =) So we get a little beauty on otherwise miserable days.


A couple of weekends ago a local friend of mine invited me to go to 九份with her. It was awesome. Definitely worth the trip out from Taipei. If you're an exchange student or just visiting, I hope you have the time to make it out to Jiu Fen. Although the weather was cloudy the scenery is still very beautiful and the small alleys hold a lot of character. Sometimes it gets a little jam packed with people going this way, that way and which way and all the street vendors are calling for you to buy their wares, but you can still find tranquil moments of peace amongst all the hubbub.


If you're thinking of going I strongly recommend just going the bus route. You get on the 1062 bus at Exit 1 of Zhong Xiao Fu Xing Station. It's a cheap 90 NT, stress free, easy ride to Jiu Fen.  Also it's a whole lot simpler than going by train AND if you ride the train you still have to get on a bus anyway.


Jiu Fen is most famous for it's scenery and special Taiwanese snacks. There's also the mining museum, several great hiking trails, and beautiful scenery. The mining museum is a must see and for the most part free. It details the history of Taiwan's gold mining industry and the history of the mine itself through the Japanese Occupation, World War II, Taiwanese repossession, until present day.  The museum really makes an effort to make their exhibitions activity based, so you'll have a lot of fun just messing around with the individual exhibits. The only bit that you have to pay for is going into the coal tunnel itself (you get to wear a hard hat!) and that's around $50 NT. 


Unfortunately I was very hungry that day, so I forgot to take pictures of things before I ate them. They just ended up in my stomach, but basically everything over there was delicious. =) Jiu Fen is especially famous for their taro balls, fishball soup, and mochi.



Again if you have the chance I hope you stop by Jiu Fen. From here on all out it's just photos. I hope you enjoy!









Thanks for looking!

+Love



Saturday, March 5, 2011 5

Vij's Rangoli ~ Vancouver

By FaFoFi in , , , ,


Honestly, I can't remember the last time I fell this in love with a restaurant at first bite. Vij's Rangoli. Is. Amazing. Before I get really in-depth with the review, I just wanted to say they do not take reservations and parking is kind of hard. Other than that, I have nothing but praises to sing about this place.



First the ambiance and the wait staff are amazing. The decor is definitely bright and modern and they incorporate lots of glass and stainless steel into the restaurant,  and yet with all the cold surfaces and metals...the decor still looks welcoming and cozy. The restaurant itself is very small, with only about 10 tables, and a small patio area. The left side of the restaurant is dedicated to Vij's fresh packaged food. So if you can't go to Vij's or there are too many people (as it is often very crowded), you can grab a bag of lamb curry, take it home and heat it yourself.


There was no room inside the restaurant, so my mom and I decided to go eat out on the patio with the promise that we would be moved inside once a table freed up. I was dreading eating outside, since it was so cold that day, but the industrial heater and the complementary fleece blankets did a wonderful job at keeping me and my mom warm.



The menu is diverse and wonderful, they have full veggie options, meat dishes, and dessert. I ordered the the Portobello Mushroom and red bell pepper curry on paneer with beet salad and naan, while my mother ordered the Spicy pulled pork on sauteed greens with sour cream chutney and naan. The menu changes occasionally, as Vij's Rangoli is the "test kitchen" of Vij's, which is located next door, but extremely popular items, like the Portobello Mushroom red bell pepper curry, have to stay or the populace of Vij going patrons will revolt. =)


To keep our palates watered and our dishes company we ordered some drinks to sate our ravenous hunger. Like the logical person she is, my mother ordered the hot chai tea and I, being crazy, ordered the cold mango lassi (while eating outside on the porch in extremely cold weather.) The Chai tea was very nice. While some chai teas can be bitter and others overly sweet, this one was in the middle. Goldilocks, if she were a fan of chai tea, would be very happy. 


For those unaware of what a "lassi" is, it's a traditional Punjabi yogurt based drink and it can be sweet or savory. Generally they are very delicious. My sweet mango lassi was no exception, albeit it was a bit cold to be gulping the whole thing down like I did, I still did it. It was thick and had just the right amount of tart from the yogurt, but was also sweet from the natural mango flavor. You always know when a lassi is done right when the straw sticks straight up out of the drink. MAGIC. 

After a short wait our food came in all it's glory. I always try to write my food reviews after I eat the food, so I can give an accurate representation of what I felt and tasted at the restaurant. Vij's however left such a good impression on me that I can write about their food clearly now a few weeks later. I dream about my Portobello mushroom curry...



My mother's Pulled pork was definitely a more spicy than my main entre, but equally as delicious. The pork was tender, the naan had just enough give and toughness, and the vegetables buried under the pulled pork absorbed all its spice and flavor. Savory and delightful, the small bite my mom gave me made me want to order a whole other plate of pulled pork for for myself. I found that this dish tasted best with the chutney, pulled pork, and vegetables put on the naan bread. =) 


However the Portobello mushroom red bell pepper curry, although the title is a mouthful, is divine. Usually when I go out to eat I have carnivore tendencies, but this dish woke up the vegetarian in me. It's an altogether creamy, spicy, delicious, curry. The curry is not overly SPICED, but instead focuses on the harmony between the mix of spices and the coconut milk. The portobello mushroom and red bell pepper were both deliciously juicy and ridiculously satisfying and the paneer, a Indian cheese, added another kick of tart creaminess to the dish. The beet salad was fresh and helped to break up the heavy creaminess of the portobello and red peppers, and everything worked together in complete harmony. The naan was delicious too, but I always love naan. =P  If I was a business major I would say that this dish had synergy. 


I strongly recommend going to Vij's Rangoli...the word that most describes this restaurant is harmony. The decor, cuisine, and the combination of the young, hip waitstaff with the older traditional cooks in their glass walled kitchen all work together to bring absolute deliciousness to your dishes. Eating here was truly a pleasure and now I'm even more excited to go back home and try Vij's during their dinner rush. =) I've heard it's even more delicious. 

Kid Friendly: Yes, but the space is quite small
Price: $$$ out of $$$$$
Repeatability: YES 

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